Welcome to our blog, the digital brainyard to fine tune "Digital Master," innovate leadership, and reimagine the future of IT.

The magic “I” of CIO sparks many imaginations: Chief information officer, chief infrastructure officer , Chief Integration Officer, chief International officer, Chief Inspiration Officer, Chief Innovation Officer, Chief Influence Office etc. The future of CIO is entrepreneur driven, situation oriented, value-added,she or he will take many paradoxical roles: both as business strategist and technology visionary,talent master and effective communicator,savvy business enabler and relentless cost cutter, and transform the business into "Digital Master"!

The future of CIO is digital strategist, global thought leader, and talent master: leading IT to enlighten the customers; enable business success via influence.

Monday, June 26, 2017

The New Book “Performance Master” Chapter IV Introduction: Digital Performance Scoreboard and Dashboard

The scoreboard is strategy focused, and the dashboard is operation oriented.


The balanced scorecard model offers a visual way for a corporation to gain a wider perspective on its strategic decisions by considering the impact on finances, customers, internal processes and employee satisfaction. A management dashboard is an easy to read, often single page, real-time user interface, showing a graphical presentation of the current status (snapshot) and historical trends of an organization’s key performance indicators to enable instantaneous and informed decisions to be made at a glance. To put simply, the scoreboard is strategy focused, and the dashboard is operation oriented.



Scoreboard vs. Dashboard: A scoreboard is to provide the “balanced” view of trade-off variables; whereas a dashboard tries to present key performance indicators in a visualized way. A scorecard assesses the business to strategic goals whereas a dashboard assesses performance to operational goals. A scoreboard is a way of consolidating and comparing metrics relating to a holistic assessment of organizational or functional performance; whereas dashboards can be targeted at a single or small, but a related number of operational performance drivers. A balanced scoreboard is very useful for facilitating discussions and ensuring decision makers understand the various trade-offs. You also need to consider, among other things, the overall strategic balance, dependencies, and constraints between components and overall risk exposure. Dashboards and their associated means of information gathering and presentation are user selected, defined, structured, analyzed, in other words. Keep in mind, The scoreboard and dashboard are both just the management tools, the balanced scorecard is not a silver bullet, and a dashboard is also not a crystal ball, they are the visual tools which help to make effective decisions and run successful businesses.


What are on your digital transformation scoreboard: Forward-looking organizations are on the journey of digital transformation. A well-defined scorecard for digital transformation should contain a good mix of the outcome measure of long-term strategic value along with performance drivers to track the progress in the short term (operational measures). It provides the business management a holistic view about the progress of digital transformation by considering the impact on finances, customers, internal processes, and employee satisfaction. A well-defined scorecard should include digital capability and capacity vs. digital transformation performance. The scorecard helps you a lot when it is into execution mode, not in the paper mode. It is also very useful for facilitating discussions and ensuring decision makers understand the various trade-offs. Some factors that could be used to measure digital transformation score within a company could be resources invested (human and financial), employees’ motivation, the number of business initiatives launched and organizational culture, etc. Set SMART” goals to link the individual performance to the strategic initiatives, the well-designed scoreboard should motivate changes and innovative actions and inspire talented people and businesses to become digital masters.


How to build an effective management dashboard: Besides the essential indicators like budget or schedule, there are as many preferred items as executives can think of and their presentation preferences are equally varied. The key is to keep the dashboard crisp, readable while highlighting important aspects for decision/guidance from an executive management perspective. This allows you to see it all and to manage by exception. The science of dashboard presents information in a logical way to enable better decision-making, and the art of dashboard displays the great visual art to delight its users. An important dashboard best practices, especially for an executive dashboard, is that the “essential” information presented has a clear alignment to the strategy that the audience is trying to execute or manage by leveraging the dashboard. The logical process flow and the intuitive visualization are also important factors in making execution dashboard more effective to enable users making right decisions.

Both scoreboards and dashboards are important management tools, though they look quite different from each other, using traffic light, graphs, tables, etc, in distinct ways, they are both useful management tools for strategy execution and performance optimization.

CIOs as Chief Innovation Officer: Three “DE” Management Effort to Accelerate IT Innovation


In any business, if you are not moving forward, you are moving backward. There is no standing still.

Organizations across the vertical sectors, no matter large or small, all face the unprecedented change, uncertainty, velocity, and accelerated business dynamic on the journey of digital transformation. Digital is the age of innovation. Digital innovation has expanded scope with a full spectrum of management disciplines, including both hard innovations such as products/services/business model innovations, as well as soft innovations such as leadership/culture/communication innovation, etc. It is important to note that within the organizations, innovation is rarely an individual action; rather, it is a team effort, often across multiple organizational silos, and it needs to connect the dots across the digital ecosystems. Here are CIOs’ three “DE” management effort to accelerate IT innovation.


DEsign digital organizational structures, and dismantle the business bureaucracy: Traditional organizations have a pyramidal hierarchy and overly rigid organizational structure and processes, and traditional management practices based on reductionist-ism principles enforce silo thinking and business bureaucracy. Bureaucratic thinking is a reason behind change inertia or vice versa. With increasing speed of changes and shortened business life cycle, digital leaders must get really creative on how they architect and implement changes, dismantle organizational bureaucracy, keep information and ideas flow, to ensuring IT is strategically positioned to be ahead of where the business is moving next. Bureaucratic thinking is about fear of failure; fear of getting out of old habits, or fear to lose the status quo. Bureaucratic thinking generates negative energy which stops organizations from moving forward. Here is the digital management clarity: Bureaucracy = Process Inefficiency. No Bureaucracy ≠ No Rules. From a management perspective, it’s all about the balance of avoiding any excess in setting the 'rules,' but remain the necessary control; keep information flow, but also ensure its reliability and compliance. The digital organization is a hyper-connected and interdependent business system, breaking down silos and bureaucracy involves tapping the organization’s ecosystem for the collective perspectives/insights of those who makeup and know intimately their parts of the system. Digital organizations have to be adapted in such a way that it can respond effectively to the dynamic changes and to the variety in the ever-changing environment.


DEcomplex IT management and DElighting customers via taking innovative ways to do things: Many traditional IT organizations are still run with “We always do things like that” mentality, keep the lights on only. The band aids IT solutions to fix the symptom often add the other layer of technical complexity for the long run; some industry best practices are already out of date and make IT management too complicated to adapt to rapidchanges. Digital is the age of innovation. The art of innovation is that it involves new ways of bringing together the latest technologies, ideas, and resources to create something novel. The Digital CIOs need to be equipped with an intrapreneurs' mindset to run IT as the business and manage both opportunities and risks accordingly, to ensuring IT is strategically positioned to be ahead of where the business is moving next. Digital IT leaders should expand their thinking boxes and get a better understanding of the current boxes, figuring out which of them it makes sense to challenge and then applying creativity tools (exploring, divergence, convergence) to arrive at a useful new box. Understand your organization’s strategic goals and initiatives. IT is complex by nature, but running a digital IT is about decomplexing via continually optimizing IT management practices and doing more with innovation to delight customers by providing intuitive products and services.


DEpoliticize organizational culture: The biggest source of innovation within a company is built on culture - the collective mindsets, attitudes, and behaviors. The potential of IT is often underutilized and underappreciated because of a communication breakdown and culture of silo thinking. To run an innovative IT organization, the more difficult challenge is not just launching successful teams, but maintaining their motivation and focus, cultivate a positive attitude and build a culture of innovation and risk tolerance. Culture precedes strategy. When strategy management gets stagnant due to culture inertia, it is the right timing to change. Weak cultures rely on the bureaucracy to enforce rules and regulations that undermine an organization's speed, simplicity, and competitiveness. Different organizations have different strengths and capabilities to innovate, innovative skills and capabilities an organization always needs depend on the circumstances the business is in. Depoliticize cultures and make sure that nothing is dismissed due to out of date beliefs or the natural human emotions. Innovation is about moving forward. In any business, if you are not moving forward, you are moving backward. There is no standing still. A strong culture should have the characteristics of inclusiveness, innovation, and learning. An organization's cultural orientation forms the basis for initiating and improving on strategies and sustaining it.


As we know there are different types of organizations and different cycles in their maturity, equally, individuals have their own professional growth cycles, and also importantly leadership capability mix. The main barriers to innovation are silos, rigidity, inflexibility, static mindset, or bureaucracy, etc. If the CIO can see beyond the confines of his/her own function by understanding all the moving parts of the digital business and contribute to the overall improvement of the dynamic business, then they would know where to make such “DE” management efforts, and when to accelerate the speed for the digital transformation, with the goal to build a high-innovative, high-performing, and high-mature business.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

“Digital Master” Book Monthly Tuning: Going Digital Systematically June 2017


Forward-looking organizations have to stretch out in every business dimension for driving the full-fledged digital transformation.

Digital makes a significant impact on every aspect of the business from people, process to technology, both horizontally and vertically. Digital becomes the very fabric of high performing business, being outside-in and customer-centric is the new mantra for forward-looking and high mature digital organizations today. At the heart of digital, it is people and how to build a customer-centric organization. But how to assess the digital fitness of your organization for such a paradigm shift.

       Going Digital Systematically

  • The Interdisciplinary Approach to Digital Transformation? Compared to changes, the transformation is more radical, digital transformation is not just about experimenting the latest digital technologies or playing the fancy digital gadgets. You have to optimize the underlying functions, processes as well as fine-tune soft business elements and expand changes to all directions; you have to take an interdisciplinary approach and collective leadership to manage a digital transformation successfully.

  • The Triple Focus of Digital Transformation: With rapid change and continuous digital disruptions today, to stay competitive, forward-looking organizations have to stretch out in every business dimension for driving the full-fledged digital transformation. At the high maturity level, companies need to embed digital into the very fabric of the business, explore digital in a structural way and laser focus on the most important things to get business digital ready.
  • Taking a Step-Wise Approach for Leading Digital Transformation At the high maturity level, organizations have to stretch out in every business dimension for driving innovations and the full-fledged digital transformation. Either being a disrupter or being disrupted, digital transforamtion makes significant impacts on every aspect of the business from people, processes, to technology and capability both horizontally and vertically. And organizations have to take a step-wise approach, continue assessing, fine-tuning and adapting, ride above the learning curve and take the journey of digital transformation steadfastly.
  • Going Digital Systematically: Going digital is a no brainer. If so, then why are so many companies still hesitated to go radical digital? Why are there so many companies not taking advantage of customer-facing opportunities to digitize interactions with digital technologies? Even during the journey, shall you continuous check: Are you doing the right things? Are you doing them the right way? Are you doing them well? Are you achieving the desired outcomes? Are you transforming to be ready for the future? Are you shaping the good digital strategy about the future and positioning appropriately for your place within it? Do you have enough resource to implement the digital strategy? Are the assumptions and risks understood and manageable?


The “Future of CIO” Blog has reached 1.9+million page views with about #3800+ blog posting in 59+ different categories of leadership, management, strategy, digitalization, change/talent, etc. blog posting. The content richness is not for its own sake, but to convey the vision and share the wisdom, to inspire critical thinking and spur healthy debates. Blogging is not about writing, but about thinking and innovating the new ideas; it’s not just about WHAT to say, but about WHY to say, and HOW to say it. It reflects the color and shade of your thought patterns, and it indicates the peaks and curves of your thinking waves. Unlike pure entertainment, quality and professional content takes time for digesting, contemplation and engaging, and therefore, it takes the time to attract the "hungry minds" and the "deep souls." It’s the journey to amplify diverse voices and deepen digital footprints, and it's the way to harness your innovative spirit.

The New Book “Performance Master” Chapter III Introduction: Digital Performance Dots Connection


The business management is, in essence, the strategy management and performance management continuum.

Enterprise performance management is an integration of multiple management disciplines and the development of a set of performance management practices. The business management is, in essence, the strategy management and performance management continuum. Either the business or the entire world is transforming from siloed functions to the sum of pieces into a connected whole, hence, digital performance management should also take a holistic approach, to connect all important dots, with multifaceted perspectives.



Performance Management vs. Decision Management: Enterprise performance management is about how the organization manages performance such as strategic and operational plans, metrics, and day-to-day decisions structurally. Business decision management is about how the organization leverage tools, systems, and people to weigh in varying factors for improving decision effectiveness across the organization. All company’s performance is directly related to the decisions people make every day, from executives to the frontline, across functional areas and regions. Enterprise Performance Management is more as decision management. After making strategic decisions and starting to implement processes, it is important to follow-up to ensure proper and effective implementation. Once you make a decision, then you must take actions. And the proper set of performance metrics will help to present the tangible results via actions taken, also make it possible to improve the future decision-making. The issue of performance management measurement isn’t about accuracy, but of validity and reliability. It’s important to measure performance success in meeting the business vision and strategic goals which are set by the strategic decision makers of the organization. Your measures should cover all areas that contribute to the business value creation including service quality, employee engagement, customer satisfaction and financial outcomes.

Performance Management vs. Digital Organization Design: Measuring and Managing performance means setting performance metrics, making objective assessments, understanding results, adjusting plans and structure, and making decisions to ensure the great business results. The reality in most organizations though is the performance which is forcibly jammed within an existing organizational structure with silo functions and overly rigid hierarchy. Organizational structure design is part of the digital strategy management because the characteristics of the digital world are complex, uncertain, and unknowns, you just have to prepare for the different scenario. New generations of digital technologies such as social platforms or other collaboration tools are enabling not only the structured processes of the past but also the unstructured processes of the digital normality, for enforcing cross-functional communication and collaboration, harnessing innovation, and ensure the performance of the entire organization is superior to the sum of its pieces.   

IT performance vs. Corporate Performance: Information Technology plays a critical role in digital transformation. Nowadays IT can either make or fail the business even overnight. IT performance has to be clearly linked with the business performance. Contextually, the measurement method is to persuade management the progress of strategy execution. IT metrics have to evolve from being a cost center to becoming a revenue generator. The only way to do this is to show a clear link to top executives between IT performance and top-line revenues. This is an important step to building IT reputation as a strategic business partner and growth engine. It is also important to measure IT performance for improving customer satisfaction. You should look at how many of your KPIs measure the end result from a customer perspective of outcome-driven rather than output driven, IT internal users or end customers whatever works for your business, and consider using the Net Promoter Score (NPS) to measure customers or partner advocacy of IT organization. Every new technology adopted must facilitate business but also bring down the incremental cost of growth and the time to market. Hence, running IT as a business, IT performance has to be clearly linked with the business performance.

Hyper-connectivity is one of the most critical digital characteristics, it is important to understand that digital business development and transformation is the paradigm shift which takes a multidisciplinary approach. In fact, digital performance management is not an isolated management discipline, but a dynamic practice to connect the management dots and tell the full data-based story persuasively.

The “Push & Pull” Forces of Digital Transformation

You are motivated to keep moving forward via a necessary “push,” and inspiration is the “pull” factor for the continuum of motivation.

Digital is fluid, digital is also complex. It becomes complex if things do interact, particularly in the case of "non-linear" interaction, interdependent relationships, and hyperconnected business association. You can't separate things properly, and often you cannot predict the actual effect of interaction straightforwardly. Therefore, running a high-performance digital business is no longer a single dimensional effort to applying the cool technologies or focus on short-term profitability only, but a multidimensional pursuit to embed digital into core business processes and build differentiated business capability. It is about how to leverage the “push & pull” business forces to adapt to changes and orchestrate a full-fledged digital transformation.

Organizations have to push themselves out of the comfort zone, but also pull all critical business elements to form the unique business competency: Compared to the considerably static industrial age, digital means the increasing speed of changes and exponential growth of information. Organizations today can no longer just react to the dynamic business environment without building change as an ongoing organizational capability. Organizations today need to constantly “push themselves” out of the comfort zone to improve the business and seeing change as an opportunity while keeping a holistic overview of the business are the core messages of the digital transformation. The digital paradigm shift is inevitable, to achieve such a state of effortless digital flow and dynamic balance, they also have to pull both hard and soft business elements together to build the differentiated business competency. So the organization of the future starts with a changing nature. The digital business dynamic allows the organization to morph as the business conditions and organizational capacities change to allow a better fit for the purpose. And organizations can make a leap from “doing digital,” to “going digital,” and “being digital.”
Push/encourage talented people to "think in bigger boxes," also pull the great ideas over to the innovation pipelines and build a strong innovation ecosystem: It’s crucial to build a creative working environment in which people are encouraged to learn and share. The real power of digital business comes from the innate appeal of interacting socially and intellectual stimulation that people derive from sharing what they know, expressing opinions and learning what others know and think, and great ideas can flow freely via breaking down silos and robust business processes and flexible organizational structure. Wit the fast pace of changes, none can sit back and merely respond passively. For every thorny or emergent problem, push for multiple solutions, take the time to look at every situation from multiple points of view (customer POV, supplier POV, management POV, etc), pull all necessary business resources to develop innovative business solutions.

You are motivated to keep moving forward via a necessary “push,” and inspiration is the “pull” factor for the continuum of motivation: Push” or “Pull,” which one is more effective for motivation? Business leaders and professionals today should be inspired to take advantage of today’s digital convenience to explore talent potential and get motivated to achieve their professional goals and collective business goals. Motivation is the personal needs for each one and it is different according to personality and culture. Motivation usually has two elements of “push and pull” factor. You are pushed to get out of the comfort zone, and inspiration is the pull factor in the continuum of motivation. You are motivated to move away from something because it is painful and also move towards something which is inspiring. Inspiration is something that elicits an awe or admiration that can also motivate you to action. From talent management perspective, motivation can be either the carrot or the stick. Motivation is the additional urge to get something done. The only one who can motivate you is you. You have to have the desire and be willing to challenge yourself to be all you can be.

Digital organizations are organic, alive, holistic, vibrant, energetic, responsive, fluid, and innovative, in a relationship with its environment dynamically, and above all enhances and supports the dignity of the creative human spirit. Through all necessary “push & pull,” “bend over,” and “stretch out,” the organization can strike the right balance and achieve the premium state of the business such as high performance, responsiveness, fluidity, innovativeness, intelligence, and people centricity.


Saturday, June 24, 2017

The Digital Board’s Digital Leadership Inquires

Digital boards are like the steering wheel of their company, leading the business toward the uncharted water and blurred territories for reaching the ultimate digital destination.

The corporate board as high-level governance body plays a crucial role in business advising and monitoring, as well as setting key tones in organizational culture style and leadership quintessential. Corporate boards also need to advocate changes and become the mastermind behind the digital transformation.




Do your leaders have the ability to cope with complexity? People are complex, business is complex, and the world is complex, as the matter of fact, they are becoming more complex due to the explosive information and the accelerated speed of changes. Complexity is diverse, ambiguous, and dynamic with unpredictable outcomes. On one side, modern organizations spend significant time and resources to deal with complexity, and thus, it needs to be optimized to make it simpler. On the other side, organizations "become complex," as an evolutionary trend, not for their own amusement, they do it to respond to environments more proactively. And much of that environment is experienced through trying to get things done. The hyper-connectivity nature of digital organizations can bring the new level of business complexity. Complexity is a systematic thinking concept, and it’s not the opposite of "simplicity.” In systematic thinking, systems such as organizations, biological systems, enterprise as a system, etc., can be characterized as being complex if they have non-linear feedback loops; such systems can exhibit emergent behavior. Simple systems can have complexity in that they have non-linear feedback loops which can result in emergent properties and outcomes. The complex nature of digital business will influence how strategy should make. It is precisely the element of chaos or that feeling of things being out of our control that supports the need for strategic planning - so that a set of values and goals can be applied to every situation and assessed. Organizations, companies or individual leaders can then determine how best to respond in accordance with the strategic direction instead of reacting.

Are the people in key leadership roles prepared and able to develop the business strategy and make the necessary operational changes? Organizations and their people learn through their interactions with the environment. It is the responsibility of the leaders to initiate his or her team to break the silos to realize the common goals or strategy which are far more important than the personal and departmental goals. Emergence which is a characteristic of all complex systems is, not always predictable but is both an inspiring and intimidating phenomenon. In the world where change is significantly speeding up, that business leaders couldn’t predict the future with a certain degree of accuracy, and the strategy can no longer stay static, the business goals can no longer be well framed in advance. Business leaders should realize the breakthrough success in digital business requires not only forward-thinking strategies but also a transformation of the company's underlying functions and organization. The strategy is no longer a static document sitting on executive’s desk for years, but a cascading strategy-execution continuum.The fact is that change is happening at a much faster pace than ever before, requiring a much more rapid response in order not only to survive but to succeed. The days when businesses spent months doing all sort of analysis and preparing detailed plans are gone. Today is about being prepared and having the organizational capability to deal with the unexpected, without losing sight of the business objectives and priorities. In such a new normal, efficiency and productivity no longer guarantee the business’s survival, agility-the ability to change with speed, flexibility-the alternative options to do the things; and antifragility-the new trait to thrive at volatility are the new capabilities for business to success.
What leadership development and training do we need? Leadership development is a strategic imperative. Leadership development, especially for large corporations is not only a continuous process but also one which has a high focus on the top management. There is a surging demand for training future leaders, the current need is related to the realization that the gap is widening between boomers and the next group of workers. Whether this is related to just the generation gap or the gap between the industrial age and the digital age, they are now recognizing the need to prepare employees for the not so distant future. Until there is enough sponsorship from the topmost echelon the organizations cannot get the desired results. Succession planning, reviewing the current talent and talent pipeline, building very clear time-bound action plans for the current and pipeline is extremely important. Leadership development has to be integrated with all other policies and procedures. Organizations not only need good managers to take care of today’s business; but also have to grow the future leaders to leapfrog their companies for long-term prosperity. The key to organizational success is to integrate next generation of leaders, tap into their way of looking at the world, solving problems in very collaborative working style. It starts at the hiring process, needs to be linked to company culture, mission, vision, and values, and of course, there is a direct link to performance management.
Digital boards are like the steering wheel of their company, leading the business toward the uncharted water and blurred territories for reaching the ultimate digital destination. Although you can not predict every event happening on the journey. The important issue is how the board accommodates diverse opinions and how they assess them and converge the diverse thought into wise decisions all BoDs support.

The New Book “Performance Master” Chapter 2 Introduction: Digital Performance Indicators

The real purpose of performance indicators: The goal of Performance Indicator is to identify if the adopted strategy, operation, and process, etc., is working toward the objective.

Selecting the right measure and measuring it right are both art and science. Choosing the right KPIs is crucial. The challenge is that people have their own take on performance indicators (PI). Generally speaking, performance indicators must be aligned with the corporate goals and objectives, they should also be directly relevant to the activities that businesses are attempting to manage.

The real purpose of performance indicators: The goal of Performance Indicator is to identify if the adopted strategy, operation, and process, etc., is working toward the objective. Performance Indicators should be periodically reviewed and revised depending on what the firm’s strategy is and what they are targeting. Key Performance Indicators should be under constant review to determine if they actually provide the necessary insight into what is happening in order to make informed decisions. A true and meaningful KPI should last as long as the business strategy is set. KPIs that are concerned with long-term activities clearly should have a longer lifetime than short-term oriented KPIs. Otherwise, inaccurate KPIs are the result. Outcome related KPIs are as relevant as, even more relevant than process-related KPIs. Using process KPIs is necessary, however, it is not sufficient. KPIs should reflect both well-performing activities as well as those that need to improve. The real purpose of Performance Indicators is to provide business insight and monitor the business progress and performance. Being able to show the business benefits in hard facts such as measurement helps greatly.

Performance Indicators vs. Key Performance Indicators: Performance Indicators (PI) measure the business progress across a broad range of intended outcomes and are used at all levels of the organization. Key Performance Indicators can be a subset of PIs, or they can roll several PIs into one. They are high-level indicators that everyone in the organization can relate to. When implementing KPIs usage, it is important to ensure that they are aligned to the overall strategy and operations of the business, you select the critical few and the KPIs are a combination of leading, lagging, financial and non-financial indicators. Good Performance Indicators help you make better decisions to improve the business performance. As the saying is going, you can only manage what you measure, performance measurement is one of the most significant steps in the overall performance management.

 Strategic KPIs vs. Operational KPIs: Business should be able o define and align operational KPIs to strategic KPIs for successful tracking of the effectiveness of strategic KPIs. It is imperative that you link lower level metrics with higher level strategic objectives. That’s what most of the strategy management methodologies are all about. The effective way to track the achievement of strategic goals is to cascade those down throughout the organization with the use of operational KPIs. This is particularly critical if you are to get employee understanding of what the strategic goals are and how their work fits into that bigger picture. It does mean that at the operation level, there should be some metrics that can be tied directly be achieving strategic goals so that every employee knows how their role fits in and can be freed up to do what they can to try to achieve the desired strategic outcomes.

Selecting the right measure and measuring it right are both art and science. KPIs influence management behavior as well as business culture, and poorly designed or implemented KPIs can be very damaging the quality of business execution and the culture of the team. Selecting PIs and KPIs need to follow SMART principle - be specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely.

Accelerating Digital IT via Avoiding these Pitfalls

Enforcing cross-functional communication and collaboration is one of the crucial steps to avoid IT management pitfalls.

Many organizations are on the journey of digital transformation, but it is the path not being fully discovered and explored yet. Or put another way, as every organization is at the different stage of the business growth cycle, each of them has to match their own pace, fit their own circumstances, and develop their own set of next practices for accelerating digital transformation. There are many roadblocks and hidden barriers on the way. Old IT thinking cannot move fast enough in the era of the digitalization. Digital CIOs today need to have both business acumen and technological understanding to become the trustful business advisor and empathetic IT manager in order to lead effectively and digitize IT effortlessly.

IT failure is caused by the management of IT rather than just IT management: The traditional IT organization was run as the isolated support function to provide some commoditized services without sufficient understanding of the top line business expectation as well as how IT can drive changes and accelerate digital transformation proactively. Thus, there is a big gap between IT and business, there is a disconnect between what business wants and what IT thinks business wants. And often IT failure is caused by the management of IT rather than just IT management. Nowadays, information is permeating into every corner of the business, and technology is the disruptive force behind the digital transformation. IT management is not just the business of IT department, it’s the responsibility of the entire company. To unleash the full potential of information, IT is not a function that can be handled only inside the IT department or by IT managers. The responsibility for evaluating and monitoring the performance of IT investment lies with the C-Level/board leadership team. IT failure is caused by solving the wrong problems (fixing the symptom only) due to the miscommunication between IT and business. The wrong cause of the problem will perhaps grow new or larger problems and create the disconnect between IT and the business. Also, when they do this, they allow problems to grow under the surface, out of sight, out of mind, make it worse, or until it’s too late and fail the business fatally. Often, IT is not empowered by the top leadership team to work across the functional border and solve the issues via a holistic approach. They do not have all the information needed, they do not have all mechanism & authority to collect that information and they do not have all the skills necessary to evaluate the information. Therefore, the effective management of IT is not just within IT, and IT failure is caused by the management of IT rather than just IT management.

IT gets stuck at the lower level of maturity when it focuses on operations in a low-risk territory and makes incremental improvement only: Solely focus on quantifiable benefits or short-term result stifles innovation. The reason most of IT organizations get stuck in the lower level of maturity is that they are too busy on fixing the symptoms, or taking care of immediate problems, not spending sufficient resources on strategic business initiatives and innovation management. Digitizing IT is a transformative management discipline with a long-term perspective, it is an evolutionary approach to fine-tune the underlying business functions as well as all important business elements (both hard and soft), to manage a balanced business innovation portfolio and leapfrog the entire organization to the next level of maturity. Many disruptive opportunities are brought to life with new thinking on how to monetize them. A disruptive product or innovations is a breakthrough in the existing solutions, something that has a potential to disruptively challenge all existing solution. It is critical to look at innovation from the perspective of developing business-wide innovation capabilities, with all necessary components including innovation leadership, innovation culture, innovation practices, tools, recognition system measurements, risk approach - not just controlling the risk, but managing risks with high mature management discipline.

IT is perceived as a support function only when it only measure things from IT operational lens, not via business or customer perspective: When IT only measures things from the inside-out operational lens, the business doesn’t have a data-based oversight on what IT can contribute to the business’s growth and build the business competency. Make sure IT and business are always on the same page.  IT metrics need to evolve to something that matters to the business audience; at the same time that "business sentiment" needs to get put into something more tangible. IT management needs to keep collecting feedback from the business upon how to improve IT services and satisfy customers, manage a healthy “run, grow, and transform” IT portfolio in calibrating IT growth with the steadfast pace. The set of questions or measurement includes such as: Does IT create a revenue opportunity? Does IT create competitive advantage? Does IT solve a business need or meet customers’ expectation? Is IT priority and business priority consistent? Does IT help to attract new customers or retain current customers? Furthermore, the performance measure setting should focus on achieving the ultimate goals of the organization as a whole, not just the individual or the team’s performance.

Enforcing cross-functional communication and collaboration is one of the crucial steps to avoid IT management pitfalls. Frequent and early feedback will mitigate directional problems and ensure the solution delivered is exactly what the customers want. It is also important to get guidance from the board and build the peer to peer relationship within the top leadership team. Without effective guidance/support from the board, the managers in the IT department are perhaps working in the dark -mushroom management. IT needs to move up the maturity level, in pursuit of effectiveness and performance by having governance in place, with a long-term focus to get digital ready.



Thursday, June 22, 2017

The Weekly Insight of the “Future of CIO” 6/23/2017

Blogging is not about writing, but about thinking, brainstorming, innovating and sharing.
The “Future of CIO” Blog has reached 1.9 million page views with 3800+ blog posting in 59+ different categories of leadership, management, strategy, digitalization, change/talent, etc. The content richness is not for its own sake, but to convey the vision and share the wisdom. Here is the weekly insight about digital leadership, IT Management, and Talent Management.

  The Weekly Insight of the “Future of CIO” 6/23/2017
  • Take an Evolutionary Approach to Manage Innovation? At the static industrial age, most organizations are focusing on improving margins by reducing the bottom-line cost rather than the top-line growth. For those organizations, innovations are still serendipitous. However, with increasing speed of changes and continuous digital disruptions, businesses today face fiery competitions and rapid digital shift either technologically or economically, innovation is no longer “nice to have,” but must have differentiated business capability. So, serendipity can be planned into innovation management. Forward-looking organizations take an evolutionary approach to manage innovation in a structural way.

  • Digital CIOs as Business Strategists and Artistic Technologists At the industrial age, CIOs are often perceived as the technology geek or the back office technician to keep the lights on, and most IT organizations are struggling to align with the business, get stuck at the lower level of maturity for keeping things functioning. Nowadays, the lightweight digital technologies become more mature, IT is striving to integrate with the business, and IT has to move up its maturity from functioning to firm to delight. Thus, digital CIOs need to be the business strategist and artistic technologist for running high-innovative, high-performance, and high-mature digital organization.

  • The Corporate Board as the Mastermind of the Digital Transformation Digital boards are like the steering wheel of their company, leading the business toward the uncharted water and blurred territories for reaching the ultimate digital destination. Digital boards as the strategic advising role are also the “mastermind” behind digital transformation to oversee strategies, drive innovation, catalyze changes, and monitor performance.


  • The New Book "Performance Master - Take a Holistic Approach to Unlock Digital Performance" Preview Corporate Performance Management is about managing and monitoring the corporate performance via the well-defined set of performance indicators. Corporate performance management is not just about managing numbers with metrics, but the number with context. The various activities are needed to manage performance— strategic and operational plans, metrics, day-to-day decisions. So, Enterprise Performance Management is critical, because new competitive challenges and active market changes underscore the strategic imperative of managing performance more than ever. But what’s exactly corporate performance management regarding for, and what’s it related to other key components of corporate management such as strategic management, risk management, information management, decision management, or talent management?

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